Thursday, October 24, 2013
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Be cyber smart. Stay cyber secure

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[October 24, 2013]  CHICAGO -- Cybercriminals don't discriminate, so don't be a target -- protect your privacy and guard against fraud by practicing safe online habits. Cybersecurity threats and attacks are gaining momentum. With more than $525 million in losses due to online criminal activity in 2012, proper security measures are a critical component in keeping your identity and finances secure.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is taking this opportunity to remind the general public to create a safe, secure and resilient cyber environment.

"Computers, smartphones and other electronics have become a prevalent part of our daily lives," said FEMA Region V Administrator Andrew Velasquez III. "Everyone needs to understand how frequently cybercrimes occur, and arm themselves with the latest information and tools necessary to protect their families against potential fraud."

Helpful information on protecting kids online, securing your computer and avoiding scams can be found at

Here are a few tips to safeguard yourself and your computer:

  • Set strong passwords, change them regularly, and don't share them with anyone.

  • Keep your operating system, browser and other critical software optimized by installing updates.

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  • Maintain an open dialogue with your friends, family, colleagues and community about Internet safety.

  • Use privacy settings and limit the amount of personal information you post online.

  • Be cautious about offers online -- if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Report cybercrimes to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, known as IC3, and to your local law enforcement or state attorney general as appropriate.

For a cybersecurity awareness public service announcement video featuring the FEMA regional administrator, click here.

[Text from file received from FEMA Region V]

FEMA's mission is to support citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.

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